FIONA SOE PAING – SAND, SILT, FLINT
Fiona starts off efficiently with The Ballad Of John Hosie, settling the audience into this alluring atmosphere sustained by her polished voice as well as the nice strings and bass hums. Maggie Machlin is haunting and you find yourself resolutely attached to the binding lyrics, and the instrumentals of Auchindoun have a resonant drawing power. Bessie Bell is so loose and gauzy, managing to make an impression with minimal resources, and the environmental sounds of Fisher’s Lullaby infuse this dazzling ambience which guarantees goosebumps, plus the main vocal hook is so lovely and there’s an endearing personal warmth that rings deeply.
Fiona’s combined spoken words and soothing harmonies are mightily fixating in Forvie, where the acoustic melody is soft and tender too, Bonny Udny features these neat well-implemented electronic elements, and a faint rhythm and honed guitar chords are definitive qualities of Lass O The Lecht. Tifty’s Annie is another that has you mesmerised by the writing, again strengthened further by Fiona’s poise and presence and the enrapturing instrumentation, and the same can be said for the ending piece, Forglen’s Plantins.
It’s been a whole 6 years since Fiona Soe Paing’s previous album, which is a significant amount of time to go without being treated to her indubitable talents, but regardless, it’s here, and it’s an awe-inspiring work of avant-garde folk art with a profound dreamlike essence that is a pleasure to experience.